The largest marsupial to ever walk the Earth just got another accolade: It’s also the only marsupial known to migrate seasonally.
Diprotodon optatum was a massive wombat-like herbivore that lived in what’s now Australia and New Guinea during the Pleistocene, until about 40,000 years ago. Now, an analysis of one animal’s teeth suggests that it undertook long, seasonal migrations like...
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The life of a jellyfish may seem like a real snooze, but until now biologists were never certain if the gelatinous blobs actually slept. Now it appears that at least one group of jellyfish needs its beauty sleep just like us.
Some species of upside-down jellyfish (Cassiopea) meet all of the criteria for entering a “sleeplike state,” a group of Caltech researchers...
The Science Life
Craft brewers are going wild. Some of the trendiest beers on the market are intentionally brewed with yeast scavenged from nature, rather than the carefully cultivated ale or lager yeast used in most commercial beers.
Matthew Bochman is in on the action. By day, he’s a biochemist at Indiana University Bloomington who studies how cells keep their DNA intact. On the side, he can be found...
To the residents of Donora, Pa., a mill town in a crook of the Monongahela River, the daily haze from nearby zinc and steel plants was the price of keeping their families fed. But on October 27, 1948, the city awoke to an unusually sooty sky, even for Donora. The next day, the high school quarterbacks couldn’t see their teammates well enough to complete a single pass.
The town was...
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Big ChickenMaryn McKennaNational Geographic, $27
Journalist Maryn McKenna opens Big Chicken by teasing our taste buds with a description of the succulent roasted chickens she bought at an open-air market in Paris. The birds tasted nothing like the bland, uniform chicken offered at U.S. grocery stores. This meat had an earthy, lush, animal flavor. From this tantalizing oh-so-European...
Artificial sweeteners can have a not-so-sweet side — a bitter aftertaste. The flavor can be such a turnoff that some people avoid the additives entirely. Decades ago, people noticed that for two artificial sweeteners — saccharin and cyclamate, which can taste bitter on their own — the bitterness disappears when they’re combined. But no one really knew why.
It turns out that saccharin...
Viking warriors have a historical reputation as tough guys, with an emphasis on testosterone. But scientists now say that DNA has unveiled a Viking warrior woman who was previously found in a roughly 1,000-year-old grave in Sweden. Until now, many researchers assumed that “she” was a “he” buried with a set of weapons and related paraphernalia worthy of a high-ranking military officer.
Sea stars and their relatives eat, breathe and scuttle around the seafloor with tiny tube feet. Now researchers have gotten their first-ever look at similar tentacle-like structures in an extinct group of these echinoderms.
It was suspected that the ancient marine invertebrates, called edrioasteroids, had tube feet. But a set of unusually well-preserved fossils from around 430 million...
Bee bodies may be built just right to help pollen hitch a ride between flowers.
For the first time, scientists have identified where and how much pollen is left behind on bees’ bodies after the insects groom themselves. These residual patches of pollen align with spots on bees’ bodies that touch flowers’ pollen-collecting reproductive parts, researchers report online September 6 in PLOS...
You’ve probably encountered at least one machine-learning algorithm today. These clever computer codes sort search engine results, weed spam e-mails from inboxes and optimize navigation routes in real time. People entrust these programs with increasingly complex — and sometimes life-changing — decisions, such as diagnosing diseases and predicting criminal activity.